Lesson 1 (from Chapter 1)
In this first chapter, Equiano tries to convince his white, European and American, readers that the African people who are turned into slaves in the Americas come from civilized societies by describing his early life. Because many of the issues that Equiano is responding to are rather alien to students today, it is important to lay groundwork for understanding Equiano's rhetorical situation by explaining the cultural beliefs that many Europeans and Americans held about Africa. Helping students understand those cultural beliefs is the purpose of this first lesson.
1) Short Writing: Have the class begin by exploring their own cultural beliefs about 18th-century Africa. First, ask them to write in response to the following question: Imagine that you have been transported in a time machine back to the 1770s (the same decade as the American Revolution). The time machine has deposited you on the deck...
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